Title: Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, 9)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd November 2011)
IN THE DARKEST CORNERS OF THE NIGHT IN CALDWELL, NEW YORK, A CONFLICT LIKE NO OTHER RAGES. THE CITY IS HOME TO A BAND OF BROTHERS BORN TO DEFEND THEIR RACE: THE WARRIOR VAMPIRES OF THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD.
Payne, twin sister of the Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her vampire brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself – only to face a devastating injury.
Manuel Manello, MD, is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can – but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separate them?
Rating: *** (3 stars)
LOVER UNLEASHED by J. R. Ward is the ninth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book tells the story of Payne, twin sister to Vishous who is a member of the Brotherhood. Payne has spent the last several centuries imprisoned by their mother, and has only been recently reunited with her brother whom she watched from afar. After she frees herself, Payne is injured and requires the help of a surgeon. Jane ropes in an old friend to help in the form of Manuel “Manny” Manello. Payne and Manuel share something more than doctor and patient, and the lines between them quickly become blurred.
After the disappointment of LOVER MINE (review) I was hoping that this book would restore my love of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and unfortunately it is only partially successful. Whilst it was interesting to watch Payne and Manny’s stories unfold I was left wondering what was going on with the Lessening Society, which just did not seem to exist in this book. Although LOVER UNLEASHED is quite a thick book, my copy runs to five hundred and seventy three pages, and therefore should fit quite happily into the novel format to me the book reads more as a novella. LOVER UNLEASHED feels more like a diversion from the overall plot of the series than a continuation of it.
The narrative of this book focuses mainly on Payne and Manny, but it also has parts that focus on other characters in the series like Vishous and Jane, as well as Qhuinn. Ward also uses it to introduce some new characters to the series, and whilst I’m curious to see what becomes of them in future books I do wonder what role they were supposed to play in this one – to be fair, the introduction of one set of characters was explained but not so much the other.
Both Payne and Manny have made appearances in previous Black Dagger Brotherhood books, so they are at least familiar to followers of the series. I really enjoy the fact that Ward lets us get to know something about the characters before telling their stories. After first meeting Manny in Vishous and Jane’s book, LOVER UNBOUND (review) the fifth book in the series, it was nice to see what had happened to him. I enjoyed the scenes with Manny and Payne in; Ward does a great job at writing the romance between the two of them. I also liked the fact that Ward showed something of the consequences for the human of having vampires involved.
At its heart LOVER UNLEASHED is a good solid story by Ward. The story is what you would expect from a book in this series in terms of the romance aspect of the plot. However, if you’re looking for this book to continue the overall plot of the series then I think you will be disappointed – I was. In a lot of ways this book focuses solely on the romance aspect of the paranormal romance genre.